Wow, it's been six months and I've never thought about joining Airliners.net. I really loved all the Trip Reports so far and thought I'd include some of mine. This summer I was a Flight Standards and Training intern at ExpressJet in Houston, TX
. I was offered unlimited domestic jumpseat access on ExpressJet and Continental, and used the opportunity to the fullest. I hope you enjoy this, and following trip reports!!! I was so amazed by my experiences that I didn't take an enormous amount of pictures, but any I find fitting I'll try to include. Here goes....
Departure Airport: IAH
Arrival Airport: ORD
Seat: Flight Deck Jumpseat
I got off work early on this Friday afternoon. One of the other interns and I had planned on taking separate flights to Newark where we'd meet and spend the Saturday exploring the NYC area. I hadn't been there since June 2001 so I was excited to go back. I was also excited as this was to be my first (of many) jumpseat rides in the coming three months. I took the bus from the ExpressJet training center to IAH
terminal C and cleared security quickly in about 2 minutes. I had planned on taking a direct flight to Newark and proceeded to the gate. Completing a jumpseat card was simple and the agent verified my identity and eligibility to jumpseat on Sonic. I then discovered a gate hold on departures to EWR
. Hmmm. I was in a hurry to get on a plane and go somewhere. I started walking.... I found a 735 going to ORD
and though, what the hell! What do I have to lose. I completed a new Jumpseat card (my heart was racing...I was nervous and excited) and as boarding had begun, I got on the A/C immediately. I presented my credentials to the flight attendant who was unwrapping F/C dinner salads. She pointed to the flight deck. I stepped in and introduced myself to the Captain and First Officer with a firm handshake and asked for permission to ride along. The words I heard will ring forever in my head..."We'd love to have you come along!!!" They gave me a briefing card that talks about sterile cockpit procedures, showed me how to operate the emergency exits and jumpseat, and explained how the jumpseat operated. It was simply a straight-back chair padded much less than economy but with a view better than any! They asked me if I had any questions - I didn't even know what I was looking at most of the time so I didn't have any at the moment. The agent boarded and said they had a seat in the back for me if I wanted it. "No way" I told her!!! The cabin door closed and the jetway was pulled away. The flight attendants asked if we wanted anything and gave me a glass of orange juice I had asked for on boarding, and the cockpit door was closed and latched. I was, for the first time, sitting on the front side of the door!!! Beacon on, brakes released...the ACARS showed our OUT time. The First Officer called for push, and we were backing up. The next events were a blur...I had never seen startup. I do remember them configuring the packs and APU bleed...I imagine packs off, engine bleeds closed. The #2 selector was put on GND and I watched as N2
, then N1, slowly rose, the EGT increased, and after everything stabilized, the fuel lever was pushed up. I could hear the engine accelerate and the start lever moved automatically back to OFF. Same procedure for #1. With a flash of our lights we were off to Runway 15L. This was just before Continental phased out their taxi check in lieu of a before taxi check to reduce activity in the cockpit during critical flight phases. We were at the runway very quickly. The takeoff was exciting. The autothrottles put the throttles at the correct setting and the pilots only verify the values are correct. We lifted off, gear up, cleaned up, and climbed to 4,000. Before long we were level at something like FL350. Here I was, living part of my dream. It'll be a reality when I am flying one of these machines!!! I'd soon learn that being a pilot is something like being one of Pavlov's dogs. The chime rang from the flight attendants and one of the pilots (I don't remember which one) picked up the phone. "Anything to eat" he said. I said sure, not knowing what to expect. Up came three Teryaki chicken sandwiches (HOT
!!!), a low-carb candy bad, some chips, and some breath mint strips. Chelsea catering uses (or used) promotional products to advertise for companies and reduce catering costs. I imagine this was the coach meal. It was served to us on trays but the sandwiches were in plastic wrappers. I ate and then took a quick walk in the cabin. The F/C meal was dinner and it looked a bit better than what I had. Still, my seat was free. Before long we started down into ORD
. The approach and landing was very neat. The field was IFR and we did a bunch of turning. It was a zoo on the ground but we arrived at the gate very quickly. After parking I talked to the pilots and asked if they were overnighting or what. I was happy to learn that the plane and same crew was continuing on to EWR
. I asked if I could come along and they were quick to agree. I left the aircraft to complete a new jumpseat card and boarded immediately after, Elite Elite Access I think. I watied in the aft galley and talked to one flight attendant and another non-reving flight attendant. A FAM who had boarded the flight came back and we were introduced. The flight attendants told me they'd bring any extra food up to me too. (After this day I planned my flights to be at meal times...I never bought meals any weekend this summer!). Taxiing out in ORD
was crazy, but noneventful and we made it up. Dinner was served in first again, and when the chime rang up front, we all salivated. It was another teryaki chicken sandwich but a salad and roll too. I think this was part of a crew meal. It was tasty. We descended into Newark and made a landing on Runway 22L (I think). After taxiing to the gate (it wasn't at the normal Continental terminal) I had to decide what to do. Upon leaving the aircraft I talked to a pilot who had deadheaded. He told me how to find the crew lounge, which is where I went to spend the night. I called my parents and told them about my first and exciting day of jumpseating.
NEXT - 5-15-04 EWR